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Old 20 September 2018, 01:02 PM
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DawnStorm DawnStorm is offline
 
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Flame Dozens of senior citizens displaced following large apartment building fire in DC

Story here.

This happened yesterday afternoon, but the most disconcerting thing was that next to no one heard the smoke detectors go off. This is supposedly a new building, so what the hay's going on? Thankfully everyone was saved. I got the impression that the building is near the Washington Navy Yard/Marine Barracks, so in addition to the first responders, there were Marines who helped out as well.
Now I heard yesterday that sprinkler systems, smoke alarms and the like don't go off if the fire starts in an attic or on a roof. Is that true? I'm pretty sure there are some first responders here who can answer that. Naturally there will be an investigation. I'm just glad that there were no deaths.
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Old 20 September 2018, 02:42 PM
RichardM RichardM is offline
 
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Not a first responder but I have been involved with the design of a few buildings, am a member of NFPA, etc. Yes, attics are frequently left out of fire detection and suppression system designs. Codes do not always require attics be covered.
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Old 20 September 2018, 03:38 PM
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DawnStorm DawnStorm is offline
 
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Aah! And I'm sure the prevailing attitude is: it's not a code requirement, we don't need to include the attic!
Even more disconcerting is the seemingly whisper soft smoke alarms. Especially in a place housing senior citizens, many of whom have hearing issues.
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Old 20 September 2018, 03:45 PM
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Seaboe Muffinchucker Seaboe Muffinchucker is online now
 
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Glasses

Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnStorm View Post
the most disconcerting thing was that next to no one heard the smoke detectors go off.
I wonder whether a flashing light would've helped. I mean, if they were annoyingly loud, maybe someone turned the volume down (is that possible?) to reduce complaints during a false alarm.

The ones where I work flash really annoying lights (but not fast enough to be considered strobes) as well as make really annoying noises.

Seaboe
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Old 20 September 2018, 10:40 PM
RichardM RichardM is offline
 
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Fire alarm systems are required in the last 20 or more years to have audio/visual alarms. Also, they are required to blink the exit signs. The birghtness of the lights is specified as is the volume of the audio alarm. These depend on the volume of the space.
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Old 21 September 2018, 03:06 PM
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Seaboe Muffinchucker Seaboe Muffinchucker is online now
 
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Glasses

Thanks, Richard. It sounds, then, as if the alarms did not work properly.

Here at work, there was an incident a few months ago where the power went out and the emergency lights failed. I think it turned out to be a blockage of some kind on the emergency generator. The generator powered up, but the power didn't get to the lights.

Seaboe
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Old 21 September 2018, 03:27 PM
RichardM RichardM is offline
 
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It is also possible that the fire alarm system didn't have any detectors in the attic.

As to the generator not working, that is also not unusual. The proper way to test an emergency system is to actually turn off utility power. However, this is a very disruptive process. Most of the time, the generator is tested by manually turning it on. The transfer switch, the part that switches from utility power to generator power, is not operated.
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Old 24 September 2018, 03:12 PM
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Icon105

Woman thanks the fireman who saved her life.
https://wtop.com/dc/2018/09/i-will-n...save-her-life/

Over the weekend I saw footage of the fireman helping the woman down a ladder. I can only imagine how frightened she was.
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Old 26 September 2018, 01:08 AM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
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Default Man, 74, found alive in rubble 5 days after Washington, D.C. fire

Quote:
Five days after a fire burned through a senior living center in Washington, D.C., a 74-year-old man was found alive.
https://6abc.com/man-74-found-alive-...-fire/4333752/
bizarre
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Old 26 September 2018, 02:20 PM
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Ambulance

This after the building management/owners(?) told the mayor that all the residents were accounted for. Management has a whole lot of explaining to do!

A bloodhound with a bad head cold could smell the lawsuit(s) coming!
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Old 26 September 2018, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
Most of the time, the generator is tested by manually turning it on. The transfer switch, the part that switches from utility power to generator power, is not operated.
I worked in this same building, on the same floor, during the Nisqually earthquake. The emergency lighting worked during the actual emergency. However, during this construction, in our work area we had some instances where those lights that were emergency lights went out (as if they needed new bulbs). I suspect the construction may have had something to do with both the workings of the emergency generator and the lights themselves.

Seaboe
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Old 26 September 2018, 03:41 PM
RichardM RichardM is offline
 
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By code, emergency lights are supposed to work for 90 minutes. Often during construction, the power is disconnected to the emergency lighting circuits causing them to illuminate on battery power. Since construction takes over 90 minutes, the battery runs down and dies. When power is restored, the battery can't recharge and the emergency light no longer functions properly.
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